Tough draw favours England’s quarter-final chances at World Cup
Fans appear to be resigned to the fact that England won’t win the World Cup in Brazil but betting on when the Three Lions exit the competition could depend on whether they get a tough group draw which, in a bizarre paradox, may see them extend their stay in Brazil.
Roy Hodgson’s team are 25/1 to win the trophy, but for those studying the stage of elimination markets, 11/4 on England going out at the quarter-final stage looks handsome – provided they are drawn in the Group of Death.
Back in 2002 the Three Lions landed in a pool containing a strong Nigeria team, Henrik Larsson’s Sweden and then tournament favourites Argentina.
Despite a shaky start against the Swedes, as the tournament progressed England grew in confidence, escaping from the group and handing out a 3-0 demolition to a Denmark team that had already dispatched France.
A quarter-final against Brazil proved a game too far but there is form to suggest that a tough 2014 draw could motivate the side to go further.
In 2006, England progressed through a tricky group featuring Sweden and a Paraguay side boasting the talents of Roque Santa Cruz in his prime. They made it through to the next phase, eliminating Ecuador en route to that famous defeat to Portugal.
Then in 1990, when pitted in a pool with Holland and a Republic of Ireland side boasting many top First Division stars, they progressed.
On that occasion they went all the way to the semi-finals, and while you can get 7/1 on them reaching the last four in 2014, it could prove a bridge too far in a tournament containing a wealth of strong national sides.
Relatively stress-free group draws have often proven to be the undoing of the national side and should they be given an easy ride in Brazil, then the 2/1 on a second round exit may be worth a look.
Back in 1998, Glenn Hoddle’s side made hard work of games against Tunisia, Colombia and Romania, finishing second after a loss to the latter and ultimately exiting on penalties in the next round.
And as we all no doubt remember in 2010, the inept displays against USA, Slovenia and Algeria, in what was dubbed “the group of life”, meant the Three Lions’ tournament ultimately ended in disaster with a second round loss to Germany.
With 100/1 on England being drawn with Spain, Chile and the Americans, a similar group could prove a blessing in disguise.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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